Sunday, September 18, 2011

Weather science versus climate pseudo science

New essay from Dr. Vincent Gray:



The only true climate science is meteorology. It has been built up for some 200 years from a network of local and international observations of every property which can be measured and can influence both local and more general climate behaviour.

I have written before about one pioneer, a favourite historical character, Vice Admiral Robert Fitzroy, descended from one of Charles 2nd's many bastards (hence the name), the second son of the third Duke of Grafton, sent to sea, where he prospered to become the Captain of "The Beagle" at age 23, and seeking to establish a mission in South America to civilise the natives, he selected Charles Darwin as his gentleman companion for the voyage. They visited New Zealand, amongst other places, and he subsequently became the second Governor, dismissed early for his excessive sympathy with the native Maori. Although no scientist (he opposed Darwin's Theory) he became the first Head of the UK Meteorological Office where he applied scientific measurements for the first time and issued the first weather forecast, for storms at sea. He invented a barometer.

200 years later the traditions he helped to establish have comprised a wide range of observational networks and theoretical treatments of weather and climate patterns, to provide a scientific weather forecasting service worldwide where its pronouncements are universally scrutinised and which infuenced all of our lives.

Every person trained in meteorology knows the formidable task that faces a scientific study of the earth's climate. The number, sophistication and variety of measurements and calculating power available have increased greatly but the climate has proved to provide a level of complexity that limits forecasting power to only a week or so in any one place, with reducing reliability longer ahead.

The reasons for these formidable difficulties are many, but the most important one is the limited understanding that we have of fluid motion. The scientific revolution that began with Galileo and Newton dealt with the behaviour of solid bodies. Its success is amazing. We have tables that confidently and accurately predict the motion of the planets, the behaviour of the tides, and when modified by the adjustments supplied by Einstein, even the movements of elementary particles. Newton could not have known that his results depemded on the unexpected fact that the motions of atoms and molecules in a solid cancel out.

Meteorologists know that the dominant determinants of both weather and climate are movements of air and water, of convection, evaporation and precipitation. of cyclones, anticyclones of Hadley circulation, of hurricanes and tornadoes, of gulf streams and currents, and ocean oscillations. It is these features which represent the greatest difficulties of forecasting. Our mathematics need the use of second order differential equations, often with increasingly unpredictable solutions over time. On top of these are the differences between daytime. when there is radiation from the sun and night time when there is not, the sun's variability cosmic rays, clouds, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. The whole system is often described as "chaotic", but this is unfair. Just because current science and mathematics is incomplete does not mean that it may not improve in the future. All we know is that we are doing our best for the present, and we are all grateful for it.

Along come a group of pseudo scientists calling themselves climatologists who are so arrogant as to claim they can predict the behaviour of the climate well beyond the current capacity of meteorology, and to convince the whole world to make economically damaging changes to all our lives which it is claimed will avert the forthcoming threats they so confidently predict.

To start with, however, they do not make actual "predictions" at all. They only deal with "projections" which depend on acceptance of assumptions made by their models and scenarios of the future. These "projections" were initially so far ahead that those providing them could be satisfied to follow a long lucrative career before any check on accuracy could be made, but since these "projections" seem not to be happening they have recently been tempted to take the dangerous step of earlier projections making it possible to check them, which so far have been a ghastly failure. This seems to have had little effect on a gullible public, which has a misplaced confidence in their value.

A typical statement of the conflict between meteorology and climatology appears in "Frequently Asked Questions" No 1 in Chapter 1 of the 4th Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
"A common confusion between weather and climate arises when scientists are asked how they can predict climate 50 years from now when they cannot predict the weather a few weeks beyond a few days. Projecting changes in climate (i.e., long-term average weather) due to changes in atmospheric composition or other factors is a very different and much more manageable issue."

It seems that somehow they have managed to conjure away all the chaos that must accumulate over many years, so as to achieve "more manageable" predictions 50 years or more ahead. Why is this magic formula not available to our poor meteorologists who still struggle with "chaos"?

The answer is amazingly simple, yet nobody seems to have noticed it.

It resides in the nomenclature that they have chosen to describe their miracle, which they call "The Greenhouse Effect"

I have recently published a lengthy analysis of the climatic behaviour inside a greenhouse, and the botched attempts that have been to apply it to climate models. If you want to read this it is at

In this document I show that the early researches by Fourier, Tyndall and Arrhenius have been distorted by the climate scientists to provide a basis for their climate models. What I did not point out sufficiently strongly is that by treating the climate as if it resembles a greenhouse they have failed to mention the prime function of a greenhouse, which is to eliminate outside weather. The models therefore remove chaos by removing the causes of the chaos, which are the most imporant influences on both climate and weather, the movements of air and water, convectrion, evaporation, precipitation, hurricanes etc. .Their models reluctantly include a mere reference to these important influences which are referred to as "thermals" and "latent heat" but they give a completely inadequate attempt to calculate their importance, their variability, or the influence of human activity on them. They even try to claim that their models can predict the "weather" they have eliminated when it is "extreme"

The trick therefore, has been to replace meteorology altogether with a system entirely dependent on radiation. Then, they ignore both the profound difference between day and night and several other potential sources of "chaos" and provide "projections" which are always pessimistic which possess no scientifically established measure of accuracy, replaced by an "attribution" from people paid to do so.

Meteorologists meaure relative humidity, considered a greenhouse gas, but these measurements are largely igored in order to place emphasis, and even responsibility for the climate on the minor greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, which is never measured by meteorologists because its influence is negligible. It is only promoted because it can be claimed to be causing human-induced damage to the climate.

It is a matter of astonishment that models which ignore the main influences on the climate are so widely accepted as plausible.


Vincent Gray

"To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact"
Charles Darwin

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